Popular messaging app WhatsApp is reportedly testing a new feature that will make messages self-destruct after a set period of time.

According to , “the feature is intended to preserve the privacy of conversations, by allowing messages to be sent but letting the record that remains of them to be purged”.

To make use of the feature, users will be required to set a time limit on the messages. After that period of time, the sent messages will be deleted and they will be unable to be copied or screenshot.   

Currently, the feature is available in the beta version of WhatsApp for Android. It allows messages to disappear after five seconds or one hour. Also, it can only be used in group chats and every message in the group will be deleted after a set period of time.

Read also:

Self-destructing messages as a feature have been available on other messaging apps such as Gmail, Telegram or Facebook Messenger. It is considered useful to anyone who needs to send a sensitive piece of information that will not be permanently available on the app.

Details on the feature are yet to be available, and The Independent mentioned that “it is also possible that the company could opt to remove or fundamentally change the update”.

Last year, WhatsApp was named the most downloaded app in 2019 with more than 779 million downloads by iOS and Android users. (wng)